Study clears vaccines as cause of Swedish celiac disease increase

A recently published study in Pediatrics, Early Vaccinations Are Not Risk Factors for Celiac Disease by A Myléus et al., concludes that “early vaccinations within the national Swedish program were not associated with celiac disease risk, nor could changes in the program explain the Swedish epidemic.” As background, between 1984 and 1996, the incidence of celiac disease in Swedish children under the age of two increased by four times. The increase ended just as abruptly. The cause of the increase and sudden end has been a mystery to researchers ever since.

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes an abnormal response to gluten digestion, results from certain gene variants, but the disorder seems to be expressed as a result of unknown environmental factors. One of the factors that has been blamed in the past has been vaccines and were considered a culprit in the case of the Swedish children. However, no studies have ever shown a causation between vaccinations and expression of celiac disease, and this study dismisses any link in this particular situation.

Myléus et al. actually found that the introduction of pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccines corresponded with a decline in the incidence of celiac disease.  They continue to research the causes of the spike in celiac disease, since it might help with prevention of the expression of the underlying gene variants. For example, Myléus et al. believe that high wheat formulas used in Sweden at the time may hold the answer to the question. 

But at this time, the anti-vaccine lunacy can quit blaming celiac disease on vaccines.

via Vaccines cleared in Swedish celiac epidemic | Vaccine News Daily.

Whooping cough outbreak in Iowa

The Iowa Globe-Gazette is reporting an outbreak of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa which has risen to 78 suspected or laboratory-confirmed cases since May 16, 2012. Disease-prevention specialists with the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health have encouraged residents to follow guidelines to preserve the safety and health of people in the area.

According to to Karen Crimmings, a disease prevention and investigation service manager for the department,

We recommend people seek medical attention if they are experiencing a persistent cough. It’s very important that individuals being tested for pertussis finish five days of antibiotics before going anywhere in public.

Crimmings said that 78 cases is a fairly significant number of cases for the area, but that the spreading of the illness appears to be slowing down at the local level.

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that can be lethal for infants, especially those who are too young to have received the pertussis vaccine (either Tdap or DTaP) or who have not developed sufficient immunity from the vaccines. Adolescents and adults who have not gotten a pertussis vaccination since childhood are no longer immune to pertussis and can pass the disease to susceptible infants. Those adults should contact their health care provider to get vaccinated. Symptoms of pertussis include coughing fits, difficulty breathing, vomiting and coughs that end with a high-pitched whoop sound when inhaling after multiple coughs.

Vaccines save lives.

via Pertussis cases rise in Iowa county | Vaccine News Daily.

Republican governor Nikki Haley is anti-vaccine and pro-cancer

The Charleston (SC) Post and Courier reports that Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley vetoed a bill that would have provided sixth- and seventh-graders with information about the HPV vaccine. The vaccine would have been provided at no cost to all seventh-graders whose parents allowed them to have the vaccination. The bill had strong support from both Democrats and Republicans in the South Carolina legislature.

The HPV vaccine provides immunity to men and women against several types of human papilloma virus which is associated with with over 20,000 cancers in women and 11,000 cancers in men every year. Governor Haley defended her veto by calling the bill unnecessary and a “precursor to another taxpayer-funded healthcare mandate,” the Charleston Post and Courier reports.

State Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg, S.C.) sponsored the bill and blasted Haley’s move, calling her decision one that… 

puts her own selfish political ambitions ahead of the people of South Carolina. This bill had bipartisan support and gives optional education and preventative vaccines to adolescents in an effort to thwart cervical cancer. This is a common sense approach to a very serious problem. To call this measure unnecessary is demeaning and insulting to the heroic women who fight this cancer everyday. I am deeply disappointed that politics once again has prevailed over women’s health.

In 2007, Haley actually co-sponsored a bill that would provide mandatory HPV vaccinations. It failed to pass through the legislature because it failed to provide opt-outs, which was corrected in the 2012 version.

Let’s be clear here. Haley did not veto this bill because of bad medicine or bad science. She vetoed it purely for political expediency and by doing so, she stands firmly against a simple inoculation that would prevent a deadly cancer. This is not a political issue, it is an anti-cancer issue. 

Vaccines save lives. I guess Nikki Haley doesn’t understand that! Maybe she’ll provide cigarettes for free to the school children of South Carolina.

Measles-outbreak in England hits new areas

Ten measles cases since the start of 2012 has hit St. Helens, a town in the northwest English county of Merseyside, making it the most widespread measles outbreak in the area since the 1980s. There have been 301 confirmed cases, along with 148 probable cases, of measles in Merseyside since the beginning of 2012.

According to a report in the St. Helens Reporter newspaper, Dr Roberto Vivancos, a consultant in communicable disease control with the Health Protection Agency, stated:

This has been the largest outbreak of measles in the North West since the introduction of MMR vaccine 24 years ago and it has demonstrated just why this vaccine is so important in protecting the public health. Parents of young children clearly value the protection, security and peace of mind that the MMR vaccine affords, but there remains a pool of older children, teenagers and young adults who are not vaccinated and remain vulnerable to measles, mumps and German measles. Our message to older teenagers and young adults is that if you were not vaccinated as children, it’s not too late. You should speak to your family doctor about the MMR vaccine because, without its protection, you will remain vulnerable to three potentially very serious diseases.

As I’ve mentioned before, parents should not consider measles a trivial disease. It can be deadly. Unvaccinated adults or older children can infect an infant prior to the chilling being vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. Everyone should be vaccinated, even if older.

Vaccines save lives.

via St. Helens hit by measles outbreak | Vaccine News Daily.

Sharp increase in vaccination delays in Oregon

Portland, Oregon and Mt. Hood

Recently, an article was published in PediatricsFrequency of Alternative Immunization Schedule Use in a Metropolitan Area by Steve G. Robison, Holly Groom,  and Collette Young, that studied the vaccination rate of children in the Portland area. It found that between 2006 and 2009, the number of children consistently delaying vaccinations in the Portland area increased more than three times.

In 2009, approximately 9.5% of Portland-area parents (out of a study population of nearly 98,000 children) consistently did not follow the recommended vaccine schedule for children from birth to nine months of age. Parents were considered “shot limiters” if they would not allow their children to be vaccinated with more than one or two shots at a time. The study noted that many who limit shots may be following an alternative schedule and plan to eventually complete the schedule, many do not follow through. Shot limited children also had more physician visits, presumably to complete the course of vaccinations.

According to Robison, an epidemiologist with the Oregon Sentinel Immunization Surveillance region, “There is no benefit to spacing out shots or getting fewer shots per visit. It is a very carefully constructed schedule intended to provide the most benefit when these kids need it.”

It remains unknown if the Oregon observations are applicable to the nation as a whole. However, if children haven’t received the proper vaccinations, it may reduce herd immunity leading to increased risks of outbreaks.

via Parents in Oregon refusing vaccines sharply increases | Vaccine News Daily.

Taliban bans polio vaccine unless US stops drone strikes

According to CNN, a local Taliban commander in northwest Pakistan, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, announced on Saturday that polio vaccines will be banned in North Waziristan, Pakistan, unless the United States stops its campaign of drone strikes in the area. Bahadur leads a Taliban faction based in North Waziristan, which may be the major safe haven for militant groups like the Haqqani network, one of the most resilient of the insurgents fighting US, NATO and Afghanistan government troops.

Continue reading “Taliban bans polio vaccine unless US stops drone strikes”

Measles–outbreak in England grows


Child with measles rash after 3 days. Credit to Centers for Disease Control.

As reported earlier, Merseyside, a city in northwest England, is experiencing a significant measles out break. The number of confirmed cases in Merseyside has exceeded 300, making it the largest measles outbreak in the that part of England since 1988.

According to the BBC, there have been 301 confirmed measles cases in the area, 90 of which are in teenagers. Although the number of children who receive the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella has reached an all-time high, young adults and teenagers are still at risk, according to the BBC. Continue reading “Measles–outbreak in England grows”

Whooping cough: Kansas outbreak grows (update)

Tdap vaccine. ©CNN, 2012

On June 11, it was reported that the recent outbreak of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) in Johnson County, Kansas, has grown by 65 cases to a total of 175 cases since the beginning of the year. The Johnson County health department has issued a warning (pdf) about the outbreak, requesting that children and adults get the vaccine and to be aware of symptoms. To prevent the spread of the disease, the health department is requesting that people who are being treated for the disease with antibiotics stay home for 5 days, and those we are refusing to be treated, stay home for 3 weeks. Continue reading “Whooping cough: Kansas outbreak grows (update)”

Vaccines don’t cause autism, but the anti-vaccine hysteria endures

In 1998, Mr. Andy Wakefield published his now famous study in the Lancet, a respected medical journal, that claimed that the MMR vaccination (for measles, mumps and rubella) caused neurological disorders, especially autism, in children. His study was not well accepted by the medical community back in 1998, because of the small sample size and somewhat subjective analysis. However, science works this way. Someone proposes a hypothesis, and many scientists will jump to study it in larger and better designed studies. But Wakefield’s study became the center of the anti-vaccine universe.

So, since 1998, there have been over 250 studies published that absolutely refute Mr. Wakefield’s hypothesis. Assuming that 75% of those studies were primary studies, which cost around $5-50 million each, then nearly $1 billion has been spent trying to confirm (or refute) Wakefield’s findings. And then we find out that Mr. Wakefield engaged in a massive fraud for personal gain, which can only lead us to conclude that the $1 billion was wasted. Maybe that $1 billion could have been used to find a real underlying cause of autism, instead of trying to support or nullify the original hypothesis.

Continue reading “Vaccines don’t cause autism, but the anti-vaccine hysteria endures”